Included on this page:
- Local coordinators
- Fund raisers
- Curriculum developers
- Conference attendees
The Soul of Agriculture's task to bring to public and personal
attention everywhere a profound awareness of the values of family-managed
farming requires that the work be done everywhere. Local coordinators
of this work, well placed in local or regional organizations
and networks, are the first most obvious need for the project.
A brief look at the long and short term goals of Soul shows
I. Long-Term Goal:
A. A broadly representative consensus on the values,
ethics, and vibrant future of family- managed farming, both
geographically and between farming constituencies. The breadth
must be enough so that it will be an incentive for even more
farmers, farm groups and constituencies to look at the evolving
consensus statement and choose to sign on or not or to seek
changes. That is, the growing consensus weight will be such
that little more persuasion of the importance of joining the
consensus will be needed than just the weight itself of the
consensus and its content once understood.
B. Several attractive examples of successful curricular
utilization of the consensus for K-12 classrooms and even college
II. Short-Term Goal:
A. To find local (regional) coordinator/facilitators
and institutions/organizations willing to provide them a base
of operations and a network to start farmer and farmer/constituency
conversations and deliberations in sufficiently large numbers
and diverse regions so that progress toward the long-term goal
B. To find funds to support the work of these
coordinators, train them (if need be), and develop some more
models of successful daylong or two-day retreat formats for
consensus building work.
C. To find funds for the additional curriculum
1. A strong belief in the importance of the Soul project.
2. A base to work from, i.e., some community, farming, sustainable
agriculture, environmental, farm animal welfare, farm labor,
rural school, church or civic organization with a good farming
or other grassroots networking ability.
3. Ability, with adequate financial support from any source
(including Soul of Agriculture) to devote some regular time,
up to 20%, to bringing farming constituencies together to do
consensus formation work.
Soul of Agriculture is a project that does not belong to any
one organization as a project. Those who recognized that a public
and explicitly stated consensus on the values of family farming
did not exist also realized that when what is so deeply in the
hearts and minds of many is made explicit, it will have to belong
to them. Those who frame the public consensus must own it, and
the best, possibly the only, way to assure that sense of ownership
is that the groups involved in framing the consensus will also
own the process.
Hence it is to be encouraged that you who help
in the process will own what you are doing. We will offer what
help we can in terms of literature, supplies, perhaps eventually
training of facilitators and other staff, models of consensus
formation activities and even funds when we obtain them. Above
all we can offer you the credibility of the impressive list
of advisers and supporters of Soul. We will collect the results
of your consensus work and make it public for comment and enrichment
and in general act as a clearinghouse for thoughts, plans, success
stories and lessons learned.
To raise your own funds and to seek volunteers,
spaces for meeting and so forth is encouraged. We could also
use help on fund raising for literature, communication, central
coordination, and other elements noted above. We will try to
keep Soul's central needs to a minimum based on what you need.
1. Grant writing ability. We can supply information about our
501 (c)(3) status if you do not have your own and some generic
models of Soul grant applications.
2. Connections and local credibility with fund sources, especially
3. Ability to beg shamelessly and cheerfully for a good cause
you believe in.
There is a special skill in being able to lead a group in dialogue
leading to consensus. Since Soul can collect individual variations
and perspectives for a long time and perhaps permanently as
appendicies and addenda, no facilitator will have to be heavy-handed.
But most of those meeting for a Soul activity will be very committed
and hence likely very busy people. For them wasted time may
be a real killer.
2. Knowledge of the Soul goals and literature
3. Willingness to accept training if needed.
Garrison Keillor's humorous accounts of Norwegian bachelor-farmers
become bittersweet when one hears stories about farm women telling
their daughters not to marry farmers. Farm life is today often
so stressful that it is difficult for farm families themselves
to teach their own children convincingly why what they are doing
is of great value. This is particularly true when young people
are exposed, often in school, to slick presentations expensively
prepared by advocates of highly industrialized models of agriculture.
Around the country, rural groups are aware that children, both
from farms and urban areas, need a real picture of farming and
realistic ideals for its future. We need persons skilled in
K-12 curriculum development to use Soul materials, both existing
and to be created, to provide portions of the intellectual and
imaginative content of "family farming in America"
One of the principal ways to generate support and action on
the Soul project is simply to expose it to groups already committed
to some aspect of family farming. Many of you attend such meetings.
We are prepared to assist you in bringing the Soul of Agriculture
project to the attention of your conference colleagues by providing
you with a package of material to distribute. If you or your
organization is so short of funds that a nearby conference's
registration fee or travel cost is out of reach we may be able
to help you. We will also provide return "Show of Interest"
postcards for you to lay out on a table with Soul literature.
You can download material from this web site. We can send you
by Federal Express a handsome tabletop display for the price
of round-trip postage.
In addition we need persons with media contacts,
persons trained in applied ethics, members of religious and
civic organizations with an interest in rural values, ability
to interview, write press releases, make videos, etcetera.